October started off with a market bang, as U.S. equities posted their biggest weekly gains since June.
The word on The Street is that with expectation of the Delta variant waning and the piling on of more government debt following the U.S. Senate’s stopgap deal to avoid a government default… that happy economic days are here again.
Market players also focused on rising energy prices, pushing up the S&P’s group of energy stocks 3.1 percent for the week and touched a seven-year high, far outperforming the rest of the index and closing the week at its highest since early 2020, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
Stronger oil demand, crimped supplies and the cold-weather winter season approaching are expected to push energy prices higher in the months ahead.
As equities rose, totally ignored were the rotten job numbers.
While The Street projected that 500,000 new jobs would be created, when the numbers came in on Friday employers added just 194,000 jobs in September—the lowest number since December 2020—according to the Labor Department.
Adding up the job numbers and looking at the facts, since politicians launched the COVID War, there are 5 million less people employed now in the U.S. than in February 2020… yet job openings are at a record high.
And today, the Labor Department reported that a record 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in August, with the food and retail sectors taking the biggest hit.
Why are people quitting?
As we have pointed out, these jobs don’t pay living wages. (See, “RETAIL WORKERS QUITTING IN DROVES,” 29 Jun 2021.)
Overall, new claims for unemployment benefits fell to 326,000 in the most recent reporting week, 38,000 less than the 364,000 booked the week before, the U.S. labor department reported.
The figure was close to the COVID-era low of 312,000 reached during the week ending 4 September.
Continuing claims for jobless payments also fell sharply to 2.71 million, 97,000 less than the previous week.
The economy sprouted 366,000 new jobs overall in September, including 317,000 in the private sector; business, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and retail all posted gains.
The big decline was the 123,000 job losses in the public sector as fear of the Delta variant temporarily shut down the sector.
About 1.6 million people reported not looking for work last month due to fear of the COVID virus, the first time since January the number has risen.
Even though the economy created relatively few jobs, the unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent last month, compared to 5.2 percent in August, as people stopped looking for work and left the labor force.
Those volunteering to leave the workforce were almost entirely women, labor department figures show, indicating that family responsibilities, including the lack of affordable child care, or any child care at all, is still forcing many women to remain focused on family.
The trend of women leaving the workforce during the COVID War is a long-term issue we signaled in “Women Dropping Out of the Workforce” (13 Oct 2020).
Other factors include the number of workers lacking needed skills to fill open jobs; and older workers deciding to retire early.
No Vax, No Job
As we have noted, and again reported in this Trends Journal, (See “SOUTHWEST AIRLINES: NO JABS, NO JOB… NO FLIGHTS”) the forced vaccine controversy also played a part in the job losses as companies shed workers who refuse to take the jab.
Overall, the number of workers with a job or actively looking for one was 61.6 percent of those of working age last month, compared to 63.3 percent in February 2020, when the COVID War was launched.
To lure workers, employers raised wages 0.6 percent in September, totaling a 4.6-percent rise during the past 12 months. Yet, as we noted, real inflation is spiking at much higher levels than wage growth.
TRENDPOST: The unemployment rate falling as more people leave the workforce adds evidence to our forecast (“End of Federal Jobless Benefit Won’t Bring Many Back to Work,” 28 Sep 2021) that fewer people are willing to accept low-paying, dead-end jobs and have gone in search of a more fulfilling work life.
For some, that might mean starting their own business, seeking OnTrendpreneur® opportunities, returning to school to learn marketable professions and or/going to work to learn hands-on trade skills.
Back to the Markets
While last week the markets were up, this week, with fears of inflation rising and economic growth slowing, they opened on a low note
After rising in the morning, U.S. equities did a 180 yesterday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 250 points, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closed down 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent respectively.
Today, the Dow slid down 118 points, the S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent and the Nasdaq slipped 0.1 percent lower as The Street awaits September’s consumer inflation numbers that will come out tomorrow… which they expect to jump 0.3 percent.